Students are the best resources so I share their thoughts with you...along with some valuable reference book and website recommendations.
STUDENTS SAY ...
Read what students-including new freshmen (including 2019)-think about their colleges before you consider them ... let me know if you want to connect to learn more!
"Hi!! School's great!! I love it! I met a great group of friends and my classes are good. I ended with a 4.0 this semester!"
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND-Ben
"Hey Pamela! Thanks so much for reaching out. I love Richmond. I don’t think I’d be happier anywhere else. The school is small but it works for me because I feel part of the community already, not just 1 out of 15,000 like I would be at other schools. The class sizes are also great for this reason. My largest class had18 students and smallest had 12. I really got to know my professors, which was amazing. The social scene is also great. It’s definitely work hard, play hard. You will see the whole school out on Saturday night and then see the whole school in the library Sunday night. It’s important to note that Greek life is really big, so much so that for guys it’s hard to have a social scene if they are not in a fraternity. That being said though there’s a fraternity for everyone. Girls don’t need to be in a sorority, but it’s very popular. We have second-semester rush which is smart because I have a group of guy friends already on top of my eventual fraternity friends. I’ve made some of the strongest friendships of my life at Richmond already. I can talk about Richmond all day, In fact, I’ve just been hired to be a tour guide!"
"I had a brilliant first quarter at Stanford. I have to say I found the first three weeks slightly challenging, mainly just adjusting to college life and also living in a different country but after the initial stage, my time only got better and better. Academically I took classes in computer science, maths and writing, and really enjoyed all of them. I still want to major in something interdisciplinary and am currently interested in Stanford's CS + X (X being a humanities program) major or Symbolic Systems (an interdisciplinary major combining CS, philosophy, psychology, and linguistics). Regarding extracurriculars, I was accepted into and now sing with Stanford's premier choir, the Stanford Chamber Chorale, and am also playing intramural basketball and soccer. I am looking into other clubs/groups to join as I now feel I have a better understanding of how to manage my time on campus. I have also made some brilliant friends and am of course loving the sunny California weather! All in all I am really happy in my decision to attend Stanford and am very excited for the next three and a half years."
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY-Anna
"Hi Pamela!!! College is going well! The classes are tough though! I love the campus, it’s so beautiful and there are so many amazing areas to go and study or hang out with friends. The sense of community and school spirit on campus is also incredible. Overall I’m really happy with my decision to go there :)--"
KELLEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT INDIANA UNIVERSITY-Laney
"Hi Pamela! I love Indiana and especially Kelley. I think it was the perfect fit for me. Although the business school is definitely challenging, I love all the opportunities it gives me and how much I’ve learned already. I also am loving the campus and have made so many great friends already. It really has become like my second home. I’m going back early to rush for sororities. I’m excited to hopefully be a part of that."
UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND-Julia
"I really am enjoying college. One thing is that Greek life is pretty big in URI. However, there are so many clubs to choose from. If you’re someone who doesn’t have any interest in joining a sorority or frat, then if you come to this school you should know your interests because I met my friends and spend most of my time with clubs and the people in them. I have joined Swim Team (club) and Ski Club. I had an interest in the Scuba club but didn’t have enough time. I am also looking into Art Club. If you’re someone who naturally likes to get involved then this is a great school. I am thriving here without a sorority since I know my interests!"
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-Liam
"I loved my first semester, Michigan was a great fit for me. Everyone is super smart but is not too competitive and likes to have fun as well. There is always something going on no matter what day of the week it is. Fall Saturday’s tailgating and going to the Big House is unlike anything I’ve experienced. Some advice to current high schoolers would be to 1.) Get involved in as many school activities as possible and strive for positions of leadership in them. 2.) Push that extra mile for the test score you want. 3.) Keep those grades up."
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI-Tori
"Choosing to ED and attend the University of Miami was the absolute best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I am beyond obsessed with the school and I think it is the best college in the entire world! My favorite part of Miami has to be the campus. I constantly feel like I am on vacation and how can you be sad in the sunshine? There is such a diverse social scene that I found it so easy to make incredible friends. If you are a foodie, Miami is also such a great place to be. Even though UM is a total campus school we are so close to the city. My friends and I find ourselves ordering in a lot of our meals and being exposed to some of the best food I’ve ever had. I chose to ED to Miami for all these reasons plus the fantastic communications school. Double majoring in public relations and media management, I practically live at the comm school. There are such incredible resources there that I never really feel lost even as a freshman. To all the juniors and seniors out there who are stressed about college, trust the process. You will end up where you are meant to end up and I really hope it’s UMiami. It’s all about the U!"
"The good parts of Rutgers are the food (so many options!) and the diversity and all the different kinds of kids. Also the opportunities in certain programs are amazing. If you are in pharmacy, pre-med, engineering, nursing or communications, those programs become tight-knit and friendly which is really nice. They also have great opportunities for internships at the hospital. I know many communications kids have internships on SNL, Jimmy Fallon, the Today Show, HBO, media companies, Time magazine, and YouTube, which is incredible!!"
PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY-Ashley
“Penn State is a great university filled with amazing opportunities! Although the size of the school may be overwhelming, getting involved in clubs and activities makes the huge school feel a little bit smaller. Within a month, I was able to navigate my way around school and really fell in love with the campus. I’m on an Operations Committee for THON, which is Penn State’s fundraiser for pediatric cancer and I'm rushing a sorority this coming semester. If you are looking for a big school with lots of spirit and opportunities, Penn State is the place for you too!"
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY-Jamie and Nicki
"I love Syracuse so much! Academically, all of the professors are more than willing to help you succeed and genuinely look out for you. Socially, there are so many different students on campus that everybody can fit in and find their best friends. It was the best choice for me because of the great mix between great academics and a really fun social life. Something that may be helpful- yes, Syracuse might be cold and have terrible weather but…the games and tailgates are so much fun even in the cold it is worth it!"
“Syracuse U offers courses in many diverse disciplines from boot camp fitness to advanced neuroscience. There's such a large population but we're a close-knit community of students, parents, and alumni that actively and loyally support our 16 Division I sports teams. Graduating from Syracuse will always give you that extra edge of networking with alumni in many professions and careers."
“When I first transferred to Binghamton University I had no idea what to expect. What I found was a school where I could pursue my passions and find people who shared them with ease. I have felt like I was immediately welcomed to the Binghamton family and I have met some friends I will hold onto for the rest of my life. This is a special school at a very reasonable price, and I truly believe that transferring to Binghamton was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY- Shaylin
“I loved my school for a lot of reasons but the things that stand out in my mind are the sense of community and traditions, the campus and its beauty and history, and I just loved learning and exploring so many different subjects. I feel like William and Mary really provided a well-rounded education and gave me the freedom to explore and learn.”
“I couldn't say I like my college, because I absolutely love it. The professors take time to make sure each and every student is up to date on what's happening in class (I was behind in a class freshman year and a teacher essentially followed me around for a month, and told me all I had to do was go to his office hours, and I ended up passing the class efficiently).The internship program they offer, which requires students to complete two 3-week, 120-hour internships, and one semester long, gives us the chance to get professional experience while still in school. They've allowed me to be the voice of the athletics. A childhood dream come true, as I get to do full-time broadcasting (and now get paid for it) for men and women's basketball, soccer, baseball/softball...have tried football, trying hockey after this break...they give us so many chances. I've come out of my shell to meet people I'll be friends with forever, which says a lot for me, considering I didn't fit in too well socially in high school. Endicott is the place for me, and I wish I could be there forever, if not for my huge aspirations.”
FORDHAM UNIVERSITY, Steven
"First though I just wanted to thank you for all the help you gave me to allow me to experience this place. I think that Fordham was easily the best decision I could've made. I'm challenged in school but I'm interested, at the same time I also have a group of really good friends so I'm never bored. I hope that you are having a good year so far and again thank you."
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY-Lizzie
“I love GW because of its location. I feel like I'm at the center of the world in DC and know how many opportunities I will have living here. I have met so many amazing people and learned so much already; I can't picture myself anywhere else.”
“I love Lehigh because it's a small enough school where I feel comfortable enough to speak out and talk to my professors and peers in class. It is a very welcoming and warm environment. Everyone wants to see you succeed here and to enjoy every minute of your 4 years.”
“I had no intention or interest in studying abroad for my first semester of college…I could not have been more wrong. My time at McGill University in Montreal has been by far one of the greatest adventures I could have ever imagined.” See video below.
“I really love the community aspect and closeness of being in a small group of people. The general degree
requirements give you a good base for exploring new subjects outside of your comfort zone. And I also really
love the food at Dhal! But…I also love the feeling of being intellectually challenged in my classes.”
“As someone who has gone to 8 schools before coming to Smith, I am continually amazed by and grateful for the love and support from the Smith community. It’s an eccentric place, but you are going to love it!”
“I love my school because I have gotten to meet so many different types of people and have experiences I wouldn't
be able to have anywhere else. I have made many different friends, and am able to juggle these different friend
groups as well as merge them with each other. Since starting school I have had the opportunity to travel to Belfast
with Film Society, which is an experience that I will never forget. My classes are fun and not too stressful, but I still
feel like I'm learning. All throughout high school everyone would tell me that I would have a much better time in
college, and judging from my experience thus far I believe that they are right.”
“Although I've only been at UCLA for a few months, it has been the greatest experience of my life thus far. The
academics can be challenging but the classes and people I've met have are amazing. There is so much to do
socially whether it be watching football games at the rose bowl, exploring Westwood and Beverly Hills and
even getting to go to the beach at Santa Monica after class. I can't wait to see what the next four years have to
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON-Katie
“The University of Wisconsin Madison is a warm, welcoming campus that has endless opportunities. It's a great
school academically, and socially there is so much to do including swimming in Lake Mendota, sledding down
Bascom, and eating at the great restaurants by the capitol. It's been the best 4 years and I couldn't have imagined
my college experience anywhere else.”
THE ONLY GUIDES YOU'LL NEED
Colleges that Change Lives, Loren Pope (CTCL.org website)
INFORMATION WORTH NOTING
The College Board is a not-for-profit examination board that manages the SATs, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT/NMSQT, college-level examination programs, and advanced placement (AP) programs. It also offers the CSS/Financial Profile, a financial aid application service that many institutions use in determining family contribution and financial assistance packages.
The ACT test is a non-profit organization that offers a widely accepted college entrance exam. It assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple choice test covers four skill areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science.
If you have questions about standardized testing, go right to the source: the Educational Testing Service Network.
Fair Test provides a list of colleges and universities that do not require the SAT or ACT.
Students perform better and are less affected by stress in school and on standardized tests when they get adequate sleep. Read this enlightening article to learn more.